The ALLIANCE has responded to the Scottish Government and COSLA's call for comment on plans to begin reopening day services.
The Scottish Government and COSLA have invited views on the options for remobilising social care day services, including those for adults with learning disabilities and people with dementia.
Our response outlines how ALLIANCE members and partners have been agile and flexible in their responses to the new demands brought about by COVID-19, with a range of good practice in the provision of day services and support – as demonstrated in our ‘Community in Action’ initiative and on our website. However, we also highlight that COVID-19 does not have the same impact on everyone and it is already disproportionately affecting some individuals and groups within society – including people with learning disabilities, women, Black and minority ethnic people, and unpaid carers. The ALLIANCE also details the challenges facing third sector health and social care organisations as a result of COVID-19, which should be considered within plans to remobilise services.
In order to ensure equitable access to services, the ALLIANCE recommends that it is essential input should be sought from people with lived experience, following human rights based PANEL Principles. To ensure that equalities and human rights are at the centre of the decision making process, we suggest that the following questions need to be answered when planning how to reopen social care day services:
- How will decisions about reopening services be made, and by whom?
- Are Equality Impact Assessments and Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessments being used as part of the decision making processes? If so, by whom?
- How will decision makers ensure that disabled people, people living with long term conditions, and unpaid carers are actively involved in meaningful decision making (with independent support to do so if required)?
- How will service providers accommodate individual service users’ agency when assessing the risks of reopening services (e.g. for people who are considered clinically vulnerable under Government guidance but who have not been asked to shield)?
- Which services will be prioritised? Will decision makers consider the geographical spread of provision and focused support for groups who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and lockdown arrangements (e.g. people with learning disabilities, people with lived experience of mental health problems, unpaid carers, women, Black and minority ethnic people)?
- How will decisions about which services will reopen, and in what capacity, be communicated to service users? All communication should be fully accessible, with a plan to ensure that all potential service users receive equitable access to information about services.